Friday, January 21, 2011

QOTD: Rule by the ridiculous

Quote of the Day:
There must be a way to construct a word for this out of Greek roots; something like kleptocracy, but meaning rule by ridiculous people instead. But it’s all Greek to me. Anyway, a couple of stories today.

1. Wall Street executives in a complete snit about Obama: he bailed them out with no strings, he’s leaving their bonuses intact, but he doesn’t always invite them to White House events.

Who thought that “Ma, he’s looking at me funny!” would become a crucial campaign slogan?

2. Paul Ryan requires that his staffers read Atlas Shrugged. I mean, I was inspired by Isaac Asimov, but I don’t think I’m Hari Seldon — whereas Ryan, it seems, really does think he’s John Galt.Time to bring out the classic quote:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Future historians will giggle at our expense. - Paul Krugman


Chimeradave said...

That's pretty funny. Here's what I learned about Laissez-faire government in school. It was a good idea at the time after all Jefferson was in favor of it. But this was at a time when many countries were shaking off the chains of Monarchy and worried about a strong central government.

However, after learning about the Great Depression and how laissez-faire government was mostly to blame, I just assumed everyone understood that it was an idea whose time had passed.

But as the financial collapse of 2008 indicated we still had not really learned the lesson. And since we really haven't started regulating business to correct the problems that caused the collapse, I guess we still haven't learned. This guy and his supporters sure haven't learned.

You see, I consider all these sorts of ideas to be quick fixes. And quick fixes don't work. The only way our government is going to be fixed is through good old fashioned hard work.

The structure we have could work, the problem is the endless loopholes. If we tighten up the laws we already have and got rid of the loopholes, we might have a working system. But there is no incentive for Congress to do that because the Congressmen themselves take advantage of the loopholes and corporations give them kickbacks of the money they make from the same or different loopholes.

WCG said...

Most people forget about the first constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation. It wasn't until ten years later that our founding fathers realized that a weak federal government wasn't such a good idea.

I find it impressive that they could learn from their mistakes. These days, we pick our political ideologies and stick with them through thick and thin. We don't even admit to mistakes, let alone learn from them.

Of course, we don't learn from our successes, either. I'm just astonished that we seem to have learned nothing from the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt was smart enough, and desperate enough, to try any number of different things. Some didn't work, but some did.

However, the right-wing just refuses to acknowledge that. Well, I guess you can lead a horse to history, but you can't make him learn anything from it.

Chimeradave said...

Yep, I almost mentioned the Articles of Confederation in my comment, but didn't want to seem like I was giving a history lesson.

And you are right even though the Founding Fathers were terrified of giving too much power to a central government and especially too much power to the office of the President who they feared could become just like a monarch. They saw how colossal a failure the Articles were and they swallowed their pride and conquered their fears and did what was best for the country and the future.

What a stark contrast that is to the politicians of today who continue to do what is best for themselves in the short term, never caring about the long term effects. And who use the population's fears to fuel whatever projects and policies they want to push through.

By the way, I love you fractured idiom about leading a horse to history.